Tag Archives: Al Gore

GOP frontrunner getting softened up for Democrats?


Donald J. Trump is the clear frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination.

I’ll concede that much.

It’s interesting, though, to listen to other Republicans tear into him. It makes me wonder — not that I’m predicting it, given the wackiness of this campaign — whether the intraparty opponents will soften him up for the Democratic candidate who might face him this fall.

Marco Rubio blasts Trump for hiring illegal immigrants to build his hotels. He calls Trump a “con man.”

Ted Cruz accuses Trump of hiring foreign workers over American workers to work in his “world-class companies.”

Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney challenges Trump to release his tax returns.

Lindsey Graham says his party has gone “bats*** crazy” by backing Trump.

It reminds me a bit of the 1988 Democratic primary campaign when Sen. Al Gore of Tennessee introduced the “Willie Horton” issue to voters, reminding them of how Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis signed off on a furlough for a prison inmate who then went on a crime rampage. Republicans seized on that theme and beat Dukakis senseless with it during the fall campaign that year.

And so it goes.

Nothing about this campaign makes conventional sense.

It might be that all this piling on only will strengthen the Republican frontrunner.

It’s making me crazy, y’all.


Open White House race = many candidates


Here’s a fact of political life in America.

When there’s no incumbent involved in a campaign, you invite all comers to seek the office that’s being vacated. Everyone, or so it seems, becomes interested in the office at stake.

Such is the case with the White House. A two-term president, Barack Obama, is prohibited from running again. He’s bowing out in January 2017. The Republican field is as full as I’ve seen it in more than four decades watching this stuff; 16 men and one woman are running on the GOP side. It’s becoming quite an entertaining spectacle — to say the very least.

The Democrats? Well, until about two, maybe three weeks ago, it seemed that Hillary Clinton had that nomination in the bag. She still is the heavy favorite.

But she’s not going to anointed as the party nominee next summer, or so it appears. Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders has closed a once-huge gap. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is taking aim at Clinton, as is ex-Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee. We haven’t heard much yet from ex- Virginia U.S. Sen. Jim Webb.

But now we hear of a couple of big names — as in really big names — possibly entering the Democratic Party primary field.

One of them is Vice President Joe Biden.

The other? Get ready: It might former Vice President Albert Gore Jr.

Some media outlets are reporting that “insiders” are discussing the possibility of a Gore candidacy. My reaction? Holy crap!

He damn near was elected in 2000, winning more popular votes than George W. Bush, who was elected because he won a bare majority of electoral votes. What many folks have forgotten about that election is this: Had the vice president won his home state of Tennessee in 2000, there would have been no recount controversy in Florida, no “hanging chad” examination, no narrow Supreme Court ruling to determine who won that state’s critical electoral votes. Gore lost his home state to Bush. There you have it.

This election already is shaping as the most entertaining in at least a couple of generations. The thundering herd of Republicans is being overshadowed by a billionaire hotel mogul/entertainer/wheeler-dealer. The Democratic field is being dominated by a self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” drawing huge crowds and a former secretary of state with growing problems stemming from her use of a personal email account to conduct State Department business.

Will two men who’ve served a “heartbeat away” from the presidency now join the field?

We know that Vice President Biden is considering it. As for Al Gore? Stay tuned and hang on … maybe.


Al Gore for president?

Ezra Klein is a bright young man. He’s a frequent TV news talk show guest and once contributed essays to the Washington Post.

He now writes for Vox — and he’s put forward a patently absurd, but still interesting idea: Al Gore should run for president of the United States.

Yeah, that Al Gore. The former two-term vice president who collected more popular votes than Texas Gov. George W. Bush in 2000, only to lose the presidency when the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to stop counting the ballots in Florida, which went to Bush and gave him the presidency.


What commends Gore to make the race? According to Klein, he has more unique ideas on how to govern than any of the other so-called alternatives to Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Klein agrees with Gore that climate change is an international concern. He thinks Gore is credible on the issue and can make the case eloquently using the White House as his bully pulpit.

Does he have drawbacks? Oh sure.

Klein writes: “The problem with a Gore candidacy, to be blunt, is Gore. He can be a wooden candidate. His relationship with the press is challenging, to say the least. He is an aging politician in a country that loves new faces. His finances are complicated, and he made an insane sum of money by selling his cable network to Al Jazeera. His divorce from Tipper Gore means his personal life isn’t the storybook it once was. He is loathed by conservatives, who find his environmentalism to be rank hypocrisy from a jet-setting, Davos-attending mansion dweller — as politically polarized as concern over climate change already is, Gore could polarize it yet further.”

Klein’s essay attached to this blog post is worth your time.

I’m hoping Al Gore reads it and gives the notion Klein puts forth some thought.


No love for Hillary from White House

The late state Sen. Teel Bivins, R-Amarillo, once told me that the Legislature’s decennial redistricting effort gave Republican lawmakers a chance to show how they “eat their young.”

It’s a cutthroat business, carving up a state into equally sized legislative and congressional districts. It has to be done once the census is taking every decade.

Well, it’s good to point out that Republicans aren’t the only ones who “eat their young.” Democrats do it, too.


A New York Post columnist reports that sources tell him that White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett leaked to the press Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email account while she served as secretary of state.

Where’s the love from the White House? Not with Jarrett, apparently. It remains to be seen if the Post article can be verified by other, independent sources. A part of me isn’t surprised by what the columnist is reporting.

Remember ol’ Willie Horton? He was the murderer whose prison furlough was approved by then-Democratic Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, who was his party’s presidential nominee in 1988. Then-Vice President George Bush, the Republican presidential nominee, hammered Dukakis mercilessly over that furlough, as Horton went out and killed someone during the time he was set free.

Do you remember who introduced that issue into the 1988 political campaign? It was a young U.S. senator from Tennessee, Democrat Albert Gore Jr., who was seeking his party’s nomination along with Dukakis. Gore ratted out Dukakis in a Democrat vs. Democrat game of insults.

I’m certain my friend Teel Bivins would enjoy watching this latest bit of political cannibalism.



Lieberman for defense chief? Fat chance, Ted

Leave it to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz to provide a laugh amid a serious discussion about national defense policy.

The freshman Republican from Texas thinks former Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., would make a wonderful choice to become the next secretary of defense, replacing Chuck Hagel, who announced his (forced?) resignation Monday.

President Obama might make his pick later today, so I have to get this thought out quickly.


Lieberman might make a good choice except for one little thing.

In 2008, Lieberman — who campaigned as Al Gore’s vice-presidential running mate on the 2000 Democratic ticket — bolted from the party in 2008 when he backed Sen. John McCain for president against, yes, Sen. Barack Obama.

I guess Lieberman is still a Democrat, but I hardly think the president would select someone who’s on record as backing one of the president’s most vocal foreign-policy critics to lead the Pentagon.

Does a president of either party deserve to have folks loyal to him and his policies? Would a President Cruz — perish the thought!) — demand loyalty were he to sit in the Oval Office? “Yes” to the first question. “You bet he would” to the second question.

So, I’ll creep just a tiny bit out on the limb here and predict that Barack Obama will ignore Ted Cruz’s advice and go with someone with whom he feels most comfortable in helping shape American defense policy in this difficult and trying time.



Huckabee to get boot from Fox?

What might conservative media talking heads say if former Vice President Al Gore had an on-air contract with MSNBC and then began talking out loud about a possible run for the presidency of the United States?

They would demand the network get Gore off the air. And they would be correct.

Well, a leading conservative voice on the Fox News Channel is considering yet another presidential campaign bid.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is the Fox talking head. To its credit, Fox is considering yanking its contract with Huckabee.


The network should move quickly. Get the ex-governor off the air and let him proceed with his pre-presidential campaign planning without benefiting from the exposure he gets from his cable news network talk show.

Fox has had this dance with other politicians-turned-contributors. Former U.S. Rep. and House Speaker Newt Gingrich once had a Fox gig. Then he ran for president in 2012 and Fox let him go. Same for ex-U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, another contributor who ran for president two years ago.

It’s one thing to have has-been pols, such as former half-term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, on the payroll. She won’t seek national political office again — I hope.

But these returning politicians present another problem for a network seeking to maintain its so-called and highly debatable “fair and balanced” reputation.

Let’s quit the charade, Fox execs. Cut the governor loose. Surely you can persuade Sarah “Barracuda” Palin to fill the void.



Capitol Hill hypocrisy keeps mounting up

Hypocrisy is a bipartisan affliction.

Democrats are hypocrites, as are Republicans. They say one thing and do another.

Meet U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., who now joins the Hypocrites Hall of Shame for taking full advantage of a congressional perk he once sought to abolish.


The perk is “franking,” the practice of using free mail service. Kingston once sought to get rid of it. Now we learn he’s one of Congress’s chief users of the franking privilege.

Kingston has spent more than $124,000 in taxpayer money on mailings since 2009. But when he first ran for the office in 1992, he campaigned on a promise to work to get rid of the privilege. So which is it, congressman? Do you now approve of the privilege or are you using it to champion its demise?

I love these hypocrites, the people who live by a “do-as-I-say” credo. They talk the talk but when it comes to living up to their high-minded words, well, all bets are off.

My favorite hypocrites in recent times are, oh:

* Republican U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich railing against President Clinton’s moral failings while cheating on his own wife by having an affair with a congressional staffer.

* Democratic U.S. Sen. John Edwards proclaiming his abiding love for his wife, Elizabeth, as she battled cancer while he was fathering a child with a campaign staffer.

* Democratic former Vice President Al Gore becoming a champion of energy conservation while running up staggering heating and cooling bills at his palatial homes.

* Republican U.S. Sen. John Ensign touting his family values while consorting with women other than his wife.

Yes, I’m leaving many others out.

Hypocrites have long been a part of what ails Washington and, for that matter, government at all levels since the founding of the Republic. I don’t know how you get rid of hypocrites, other than to vote them out of office.

Rep. Kingston likely is going to come up with some kind of bogus rationale for using the franking privilege that his Georgia constituents will accept. That’s their problem.

I just think this kind of double-speak needs some exposure.

JFK or the Gipper today? Forget about it!

Jeff Jacoby, the Boston Globe’s conservative columnist, believes John F. Kennedy’s name would be mud in today’s Democratic Party.

Perhaps so, given that JFK was no flaming liberal a la Barack Obama, John Kerry or Al Gore Jr.


But allow me to finish the rest of that argument.

Just as Democrats wouldn’t embrace JFK today, the current Republican Party seems out of step with some of its own stalwarts — such as Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon and, dare I say, Ronald Wilson Reagan.

All this is evidence of just how polarized the political climate has become in America. It’s become a place where working across the aisle is anathema to the so-called “true believers.” The result has been a government that no longer works as it should for the good of the entire country.

Kennedy was a pro-defense hawk. He hated communists. JFK sought to govern with muscle and was unafraid to threaten to use military force against our foes if the need presented itself … e.g., the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962. A romantic thought has been kicked around for 50 years that had he lived and been re-elected in 1964 the Vietnam War would have ended much sooner, that Kennedy would have realized our involvement there was a mistake. I’m not quite so sure of that. Besides, who can know for certain what he would have done?

If we’re going to examine our partisan icons of the past, it’s good to look at all of them.

Goldwater is the father of the modern conservative movement. He became a classic libertarian who despised government interference in people’s private lives. Is that the GOP of today? Hardly.

Richard Nixon’s administration created the Environmental Protection Agency, one of the bogeymen that modern conservatives today want to abolish.

Ronald Reagan? Well, he made working with Democrats in Congress a virtual art form. His friendship with House Speaker Tip O’Neill became legendary, even while both men were at the height of their power.

They were icons in their day. Of the three GOP leaders of the past, only Reagan conjures up warm memories among today’s conservatives. My own view is that the Gipper would be disgusted at the open animosity his political descendants are exhibiting.

Yep, the planet is warming

My late mother had a saying that took to task those who failed to see the big picture.

“That guy is so narrow minded,” Mom would say, “that he can look through a keyhole with both eyes.”

It always made for a good chuckle when she said it, but her wry wit seems a bit more topical these days when I hear people debate whether Planet Earth is getting warmer. More evidence has arrived that suggests it is doing exactly that.


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association has issued a report that talks about melting ice caps, rising sea levels, loss of marine habitat and threats to coastal communities on every continent. The average annual temperature worldwide is getting warmer, NOAA reports.

The San Antonio Express-News reports that the State of the Climate report also notes, “Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels reached 400 parts per million last May, and averaged 392.6 for 2012, the highest in 800,000 years.”

The CO2 level is troublesome in this regard: The deforestation of tropical regions in South America, Africa and Southeast Asia is well-known; those trees didn’t just die of “natural causes.” They were cut down by human beings and as we all learned in junior high school science class, vegetation — such as trees — consume CO2 while emitting oxygen.

The global-warming naysayers keep harping on anecdotal evidence that the world isn’t actually getting warmer. They chide environmentalists such as former Vice President Al Gore for crying “wolf!” over the global warming issue. Remember the brutal winter we had in the Amarillo in late 2012 and early 2013? The temps stayed cold for seemingly forever. Yes, the prolonged cold produced plenty of jokes debunking the global warming “alarmists” who supposedly are out to destroy the fossil-fuel industry because of all that gas it spews into the atmosphere.

Let’s not debate that global warming is in fact occurring. We can debate, perhaps, whether it’s manmade or part of the planet’s epochal cycle. Either way, a lot of human beings and wildlife are being put at risk.

Does humankind have a way to stem global warming? Sure it does. First, though, it has to find the will.